What gives? DCC fundraising tips from Josh Friedman

We sat with Josh Friedman, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, and asked him to expand share pointers on his successes throughout the years and methods that are sure to get your donors to commit.
What gives? DCC fundraising tips from Josh Friedman

Now that fundraising for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, which benefits the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UM, is in full swing, you may be wondering how to reach your goal before April 6. Here are a few tips from Josh Friedman, senior vice president for development and alumni relations.

What does it take to be a successful fundraiser?

It’s a mindset. Inviting people to join you in the fight against cancer is an honor. You are giving them the opportunity to be part of something much bigger than themselves or any one of us, something that impacts every one of us because we’ve all been affected by cancer in one way or another. Embrace it!

What advice would you give to someone who has never fundraised before?

First, be enthusiastic. The only way you will get donations is by asking. It is a very common, popular thing to do—especially on social media—so this will not be the first time your friends and family have been asked for a donation, even if it’s your first time fundraising.

Second, it takes commitment and consistency. Don’t be discouraged if your first appeal doesn’t result in a floodgate of donations. To meet and exceed your goal, you have to keep at it. In fact, a study has shown that, on average, people give at the sixth time of asking. It’s not because they don’t want to but because they get busy and forget. So if you’re consistent with your posts and emails, you’re not annoying people; you are giving them an opportunity to donate at a time that’s convenient for them.

Caroline Shipman and Dr. Kasmodel
Josh Friedman at the 2018 Dolphins Cancer Challenge

How can we get people comfortable with asking for donations?

Don’t be ashamed or intimidated when asking for donations. It’s quite the opposite. Be proud that you are taking part in the DCC. You are doing an incredible thing by standing up to cancer, so let everyone know it. It is amazing to see the support you get either with donations or just by people wishing you good luck at the event.

In the age of technology, how can fundraisers use social media to their advantage?

Social media makes fundraising quick and easy. Just by sharing your link, you can reach your entire network instantly. You can post eye-catching pictures or videos that will grab people’s attention and you can tag friends so you know your post is being seen by specific people. It also allows you to thank people publicly and quickly. Social media can also help you fundraise during the event. You can post live at the start line and then update followers on your progress—as you complete your first kilometer of the 5k walk or at your first rest stop if you’re cycling. Studies show that posting during an event is a very effective way to receive donations. As a result, social media has really changed the game in peer-to-peer fundraising platforms like the DCC. Use these tools as much as you can and have fun with it.

Who should fundraisers reach out to?

Everyone! My advice would be to split your network into two groups. One group is your “inner circle”—our closest friends, family, and colleagues. Your list could be one or two people, or 20; it doesn’t matter. These are the people who are most likely to donate, and donate the most. Personalize your ask to these folks. Send them an email with their name and a short message that asks them to support your campaign:

“Dear Claudia,

It was so great seeing you last weekend! As you know, on April 6 I’m participating in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge 5K run to raise money for cancer research. I’ve committed to raising $500 to support this important cause and I hope I can count on your support. Click the link below to donate.


The next group is everyone else! Send email blasts to your contact lists and leverage your social channels. The bigger the reach, the more donations you will receive.

What do you consider to be the most useful real-life fundraising tips for participants fundraising for the DCC?

Don’t be afraid to ask. It may feel awkward or strange asking people for money, but there are very few people who haven’t been affected by cancer in some way. The worst that can happen is someone says no or ignores a post and you are no worse off. It is amazing to see who comes out of the woodwork when you send out a social media post or email—people whom you had no idea had cancer or their family member or a close friend. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Are you registered for the DCC yet? Make sure you join us today.